Thursday, June 19, 2008

rediscovered + dead (paper-based) media

dead (tree) paper-based + edged-notched card-stacked pre-digital proto-Web medum are the subject of this New York Times article + this Kevin Kelly blog post that have been reblogged by Boing Boing...

the New York Times article describes a system imagined in 1934 by Belgian inventor/visionary Paul Otlet as a global network of hyperlinked "electric telescopes”, telegraphs + paper-based writing/reading/annotation materials as well as exchangeable multimedia devices ("radio-telephones", gramophones, films, "radio-televisions", etc...) + documents. as the article mentions this sounds very Steampunk relative to current experiences but also writes alternative histories/genealogies of the development of the Internet + the Web as Otlet speculated on the future “mechanical, collective brain” containing a comprehensive archive of human knowledge + accessible through an international electromechanical telecommunications network that he called the “réseau”. in the city of Mons in Belgium, a museum, dedicated to the rediscovery of Otlet + his system, the Mundaneum, celebrates it's 10th anniversary today

the Kevin Kelly blog post retraces a Media Archeology of a specific paper-based, edged-notched card-stacked system. Kelly details a commercial product called "InDecks Information Retrieval cards" that were obsoleted by commercial computing systems + have since been documented as an entry in Bruce Sterling's Dead Media Project - jonCates

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